Below is an open letter from Pastor John Collins of Harvest Christian Fellowship in California. He gives a report and an honest perspective on why evangelical Christians support President Trump.
By John Collins, Harvest Christian Fellowship
Parent, Pastor, Patriot…
This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend the “Evangelicals for Trump” rally in Miami, Florida. Our president chose to kick-off his re-election campaign in a church! Ministerio Internacional El Rey Jesús is one of the largest Spanish speaking churches in our nation. They hosted a who’s who of evangelicals from around the country as a show of support for a president who has championed issues that are passionate to the evangelical community.
It’s been said that politics makes for strange bedfellows and this president proves it like no other. As evangelical Christians, we find ourselves standing solidly behind a man whose character and moral choices have been challenged, who is vilified and disparaged constantly by the opposing party, and who without shame tongue lashes news media and treats opponents like circus clowns.
Despite the unceasing and at times cruel criticisms he endures from across the aisle and in the media, he has managed to unite cross factions of charismatic and non-charismatic believers at levels only Billy Graham was able to achieve! In 2016 some 84% of evangelicals voted Trump.
For those that can’t wrap their heads around why evangelicals support this president, I would suggest looking past what he says (or has reported to have said) and looking hard at what he has done!
For starters, he has worked to protect religious freedoms. He has issued an executive order designed to pull the teeth out of the Johnson amendment, which was intended to limit the voice of the church on political candidates by holding hostage the church’s tax exempt status.
Secondly, no president in history has been as strong an advocate in defending the rights of the un-born. He has appointed and favors justices and judges that hold strict constructionist views of the constitution, voiding a trend of liberal judges that usurp congress by “judicial activism.”
Add to this, he fulfilled his campaign promise to stand by Israel, move the US embassy to Jerusalem, and recognize that city as its rightful capitol. That is something evangelicals have long prayed for.
He is an advocate for prayer in public schools and for Christians, and other people of faith, to have their rights protected when practicing “free-speech” on college campuses. His policies have helped to get the economy humming and bring unemployment to historic lows, particularly among Hispanic and African Americans, lifting many out of poverty.
He has also drawn attention to, and taken measures, to protect thousands of Christians facing persecution at the hands of radical Islamic factions in the Middle East other parts of the world.
Given his record, it would seem obvious that evangelicals would stand behind Donald Trump. Yet, due to his abrasive no-nonsense, politically incorrect manner of speaking and tweeting, many argue that evangelicals have entered into an “un-holy” alliance.
Certainly, Donald Trump’s communications skills may be less than Reaganesque. He has a penchant for exaggerating his claims. He doesn’t paint with words in Rembrandt fashion – true to every detail. He paints with words like Picasso, and ear there and eye there – yet it remains the portrait of a man. Call it lying, exaggerating, or just hyperbole, in the end its simply his way of conveying a sentiment, not hard facts.
Nevertheless, support for Trump isn’t rooted in his rhetoric or the moral choices of his past. Evangelicals understand we elect a president, not a pope. We don’t have a “royal family” like England that functionally represents the Anglican Church. We have a dirty, two party system that moves the levers of power. Our forefathers put forward the church to be the north star of morality, not politicians.
I’d love to vote for a candidate that allows me to “have my cake and eat it too”, but Abraham Lincoln is long gone. I’m a parent who seeks religious freedoms for his grandchildren, and I’m a pastor who loves to see the gospel go forward without government intervention and the bible taught literally and freely without restraint. And, I’ll vote for Trump because I’m a patriot that wants my country to embrace its traditions and to uphold the Constitution the founder’s put forward without turning it into a “living document” that changes with the whims of our age.
Martin Luther said he rather be governed by a “competent Turk than an incompetent Christian.” I stand with Luther, and with Trump.